As It Happens

Elizabeth May wouldn't keep Stephen Harper in power for 'a nanosecond longer'

The Green Party leader sits down with Carol to talk about getting things done in a minority parliament and restoring Canada's reputation on climate change.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May discusses the current state and future of the health care system in Canada during a town hall meeting at the Oak Bay United Church in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, August 27, 2015. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

"Not for a nanosecond longer than required under law."

That's Elizabeth May's message to Stephen Harper about how long he'd stay in power if she finds herself in the enviable position of deciding who will be Canada's next prime minister. While the Green Party leader says she has no interest in propping up a minority Conservative government, she's confident she could find common ground with the Liberals and the NDP. 

May spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off about a wide range of issues as the federal election enters its final week. Here are some highlights:

On coalition talks and working with Stephen Harper after the election:

"I can't see having Stephen Harper prime minister for even a nanosecond longer than required under law. If he has a couple seats more than the others ... it may not be conventional, but it's perfectly legitimate to go to the Governor General and say 'Look, we all know Stephen Harper will not survive the first confidence vote, so why should we put the country and Parliament through that? Give Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and myself time to talk to each other and come up with a cooperative, if not a full, coalition.'"

On climate change and pipeline policies:

"Canada needs an energy policy. Canada needs a climate policy. Within that, it only makes sense to say that we need to stop the growth in the oil sands, but process the material they are producing in Alberta so you end up with more jobs in Alberta. It ends up smoothing out the boom and bust cycles for that economy, and we could actually stop exporting foreign oil into the east coast of Canada. We wouldn't have a fight over pipelines if not for a very flawed economic strategy that Canada needs quick expansion of the oil sands to ship product out of Canada unprocessed. That simply doesn't make sense."

This interview was edited for length and clarity. To hear the full interview please click on the Listen audio link above.

As It Happens has requested interviews with Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. You can find our interview with the NDP's Tom Mulcair here.


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